German supermarket chain rebutes settlement boycott policy

Conflicting remarks between German owners and local Dutch operators.

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The Dutch branch of the German supermarket chain Aldi has backtracked from its stated policy of boycotting products made by Israelis in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Golan.

מחרימה. רשת ALDI

Aldi branch in Holland

“Aldi would like to emphatically state that it does not boycott products from the occupied territories,” a spokesperson for Aldi’s Dutch branch wrote on Monday to the Information and Documentation on Israel — CIDI — a Dutch pro-Israel organization.

The spokesperson, Laetitia F. Gruwel, wrote in a letter to CIDI Director Esther Voet that “Aldi is not engaged in political or religious issues.” Aldi has stores in 16 European countries, as well as in the United States and Australia.

On Friday, an unnamed Aldi spokesperson confirmed to the Dutch daily Trouw that Aldi’s Dutch branch has a policy of boycotting goods from Israeli settlements, which the European Union considers illegal.

RELATED: Dutch Retailers have begun to ban goods from West Bank

The spokesperson told Trouw that Aldi remains committed to its policy as outlined in a report from April entitled “Dutch Economic Links with the Occupation,” which was commissioned by several Dutch organizations that are critical of Israel.

The report said that the Dutch subsidiary of Aldi informed the report’s authors “that it does not want to sell products from Israeli settlements in occupied territories and also has informed its suppliers about this policy.”

On Monday, Gruwel did not deny that Aldi made a statement to that effect but said it was “incorrect information.” Currently, Aldi does not offer any products from areas which the European Union considers illegal settlements, Trouw reported.

According to Trouw, two other supermarket chains operating in the Netherlands, Hoogevliet and Jumbo, have a said they are boycotting settlement products,